United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Quito, Ecuador, on Sunday, 13 February, in his first visit to the country.
On Monday morning, he met with the United Nations country team at a working breakfast, in which he received updates on the work of the entire United Nations system in Ecuador. He noted that his visit took place at a crucial time, when democracy in Ecuador was being consolidated following the worrying events of 30 September 2010.
Following that meeting, the Secretary-General met with the Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Ricardo Patiño Aroca. They discussed efforts to consolidate democracy in Ecuador following the events of 30 September, and the Secretary-General noted the beneficial role of broad-based dialogue in that process.
They also discussed, among other topics, the state of climate change negotiations and developments in the Middle East, including in Egypt and Tunisia. The Secretary-General welcomed the improved relations between Ecuador and Colombia. In further discussions, the Secretary-General noted the welcome Yasuni-ITT initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Foreign Minister indicated that Ecuador would play an important role at the “Rio+20” talks on the environment and the discussion in June on global economic governance.
Afterwards, the Secretary-General met with President Rafael Correa, with whom he discussed many of the same matters about which he had spoken with the Foreign Minister.
Speaking to the press jointly with President Correa, the Secretary-General said: “I have come to Ecuador to show my support.” He noted that last September, he had expressed his support for Ecuador’s democratic institutions and its elected Government. Now, he said, he welcomed that Ecuador’s new Constitution represents a positive development for the advancement of indigenous peoples’ rights. He added: “I am also aware that there are still some gaps in the implementation of the Constitution. I encourage further progress.”
The Secretary-General was then honoured by the Mayor of Quito, Augusto Barrera Guarderas, as Huésped Ilustre, or “Distinguished Guest”. He praised the Mayor for the steps being taken to improve the quality of life in Quito.
The Secretary-General was then hosted for lunch by President Correa, who also provided impromptu folk singing with other senior members of his Government.
Following a town hall meeting with United Nations staff in Quito, the Secretary-General left Ecuador, travelling onward to Peru for an official visit.